Hi everyone! I apologize I have been MIA from blogging for a while, I was preparing for the largest competition I have ever had the privilege in competing in. The Arnold Classic, aka the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic, is an annual international bodybuilding competition held in Columbus Ohio. “The Arnold” includes the well known fitness expo that showcases all realms of exercise and fitness. Every means of exercise you can think of can be found at this expo– even those that you would normally not think of! Such as pole fitness, arm wrestling, jump rope, etc. My boyfriend competed at the Arnold last year for Olympic Weightlifting and really enjoyed the whole experience, so he decided he would compete again. That was when I had this crazy idea to apply for a position in the Amateur Bikini competition.
In order to be chosen, you had to have won a top spot in a national qualifier event within the past year. My first place at my last competition in St. Augustine Florida made me eligible. I received my confirmation letter for acceptance into the competition approximately four months until the competition date. I knew I needed to come in at my very best, so unlike my previous competitions, I prepared and cut for a total of 12 weeks– about 1 month longer than my previous competitions!
For this competition, again unlike my previous competitions, I had assistance with my macros and caloric intake while cutting. My coach and sponsor, Lindsay Westfall of All or Nothing Fitness did a great job helping me get to my final goal during my cut. I wanted to remove some of the stress of changing macros/calories during the prep as well as incorporate someones professional opinion. If you are looking for macro guidance. If you are looking for macro guidance for any means, not just competition prep, check out her website at www.allornothingfit.com
So overall, prep was tough! It was longer than I was used to and I essentially eliminated my weekly cheat meals because I knew I had to come in top notch to step on the stage at the Arnold. These girls come from ALL OVER the world. I competed against girls from Brazil, Ukraine, Russia, Bermuda– girls that look like they have been genetically modified to compete in this sport! I kept my sanity using an “If it fits my macros” based diet, so I could get my pizza fix in by making it myself, sometimes using a low fat tortilla as the crust, sometimes topping my egg whites with pizza toppings! Basically, as long as I could fit the food into my daily calories, fats, proteins, and carbs I could eat it– see my IIFYM tab for more details regarding that. There was a day I even fit an entire Steak n Shake burger into my macros and actually lost two pounds the following day!
That being said, as my calories got lower, I was able to fit those types of treats in less and less. The final 3-4 weeks I ate relatively the same thing each day because A. I enjoyed it, and B. I knew it fit in my macros because I had already done the calculations and so it was less I had to think about!
Sample Meal Plan (final weeks of prep)
1/4 cup oatmeal, 3-4oz egg whites, 1 tbs peanut butter
(same meal) 1/4 cup oatmeal, 3-4 oz egg whites, 1 tbs peanut butter
3 oz. chicken breast with 1 tbs. sugar free BBQ sauce, 1-2 cups green beans, 1 yam patty (found in grocery frozen aisle)
Identical to meal above
Either Same as previous meals or 3 oz. Lean ground turkey and 1-2 cups broccoli or green beans
End of Day “Dessert” —Always needed something to fight off the sweet tooth!
1/3 cup oatmeal, 0.5-1 scoop Quest protein Powder, 1-2 tbs peanut butter (or I would make this into pancakes by adding 1/2 cup egg whites to the mix and topping with sugar free/calorie free syrup or reconstituted powdered PB)
I would get a re-feed day once a week, my carbs were increased by 80 grams, but my fats were decreased by 10 grams. So on these days, I would have to eliminate some of the peanut butter to decrease fats, but I could add a banana and extra oatmeal, toast with sugar free jelly, or any other carbohydrate that would fill an extra 80 grams.
So enough about prep,
We checked in Wednesday Afternoon and got settled into our hotel. Thursday was the big, BUSY day. It was all of womans Prejudging. So fitness, figure, masters, bikini, all were included in this day. The show started at noon. I had my tanning appointment at 9 am, hair and make up was done around 1230pm-130pm. I was nervous that my hair and makeup was being done so late, but little did I know….. With all of the competitors, the multitude of divisions within each category, I didn’t even get on stage until 830PM! It was the longest day of waiting ever!! I was cold and sticky from the tan and wanted to scratch my false eyelashes off the entire 10 hours. All of my nerves and jitters went away by 8pm because I was so motivated to get out on that stage!
Prejudging went well. I hit my poses confidently. I felt good exiting the stage. The judges then decided the top 15 of each category. Only the top 10 would be able to compete on Saturday for finals. I was shocked when I was one of the first five girls called!
First call outs! In a bodybuilding competition, is usually indicative of Top 5 placements, because most, if not all, of judging is completed during the prejudging day. I was over the moon ecstatic! How amazing it was to be considered top 5 out of 25 other amazing females from all over the world!
The hardest part was the wait on Friday. Friday was all mens prejudging. So, I had the entire day off, yet could not eat too much or drink too much because I had to worry about finals on Saturday Morning! So Friday was spent at the Arnold Expo.
We walked around the different venues, received enough free samples of products to never have to buy another supplement again, and saw different famous faces of the fitness industry. Aside from the crowds of hundreds of people and the LONG lines, it was a fun time.
Saturday finally came along and it was an EARLY start. I had to get my hair and make up done at 430 am!!
My tanning appointment was at 7 am. And show time was prompt at 10 am. Finals was so much faster than prejudging. Everyone was completed by 11-1130. The top 10 girls from each category went on stage, we did our comparison posing routine and exited the stage.
The judges then called out the Top 5 girls. I was awarded with fifth place! I was so incredibly excited and honored to be on such a prestigious stage and to be receiving an award. Of course the competitor in me would have loved a Top 3 trophy, but I can’t describe enough how happy I am with how I presented myself and where I placed overall. Especially considering that I just started this sport last July. THAT WAS 8 MONTHS AGO! In 8 months I was able to get to where I am now, when many of these girls on stage with me have been training for YEARS! It was truly a humbling and amazing moment that I will never forget.
Following finals, it was celebrating time. My boyfriend and I went to a local bar/restaurant across the street from the convention center and I ordered a BBQ bacon burger with tater tots! We also split a Buffalo Chicken Flatbread pizza for an appetizer.
So here I am now, back in Florida– still taking the whole experience from this weekend in. I am definitely utilizing this experience as motivation for NPC Nationals at the end of the year.
I will have a few months to build up my calories by reverse dieting, hit the gym heavy hopefully adding some more mass to my lower body, and enjoy myself before beginning a prep or cut again. So, stay tuned for new recipes to be added!
PS. Enough about me, I want to give a shout out to my boyfriend, Matt, whom also competed at the Arnold Classic in Olympic Weightlifting and got TOP 4 (actually top 2, when factoring in the fact that the other two guys in the 77kg weight class that lifted heavier than him did NOT weigh in at their appropriate weight)
So he did AWESOME! I’m so proud! It is safe to say that we are definitely a force to be reckoned with! A power couple, if you will! I love being with someone that takes their health and fitness just as serious as I do. Watch out world! 🙂